Francois Frederik Odendal was born on 28 December 1926 at Knysna. Senior
Certificate first class at Knysna High School, 1943.
He studied at the University of Stellenbosch (BA 1946 and MA 1948, both cum laude, DLitt 1957) and spent an academic year at the University of Utrecht, Netherlands (1952 - 1953). He made an extensive tour of the Netherlands, Scotland and England in 1972 to visit colleagues and make new acquaintances in his field. In 1980 he attended the five yearly congress of the International Germanisten Vereinigung delivering an address on the forms of Address in Afrikaans (in German).
Francois Odendal worked as terminologist at the Bureau for Terminology of the SA Academy of Science and Arts, 1953-1956.
In 1956 he was appointed a co-editor, Dictionary of Afrikaans Language (WAT) at Stellenbosch and promoted to assistant editor-in-chief in 1962.
1966: Professor of Afrikaans at the University of the Western Cape.
1968: Professor of Afrikaans and Dutch Linguistics at the Rand Afrikaans University until his retirement in 1990.
He served on various commissions, including a term as dean of the Faculty. The Language Comission of the South African Academy for 30 years from 1962, 13 years as secretary, 14 years as chairman. The Language Advisory Committee of the SABC from 1970 - 1993.
Chairman of the Linguistic Society of Southern Africa for 7 years.
1970 - 1995: Appointed member of the Board of Control of the Johannesburg Art Gallery (also known as Joubert Park Gallery).
He was married to Estelle D. Terburgh since 1952 and they had two daughters. Francois Odendal died in April 2013 in Rondebosch.
His Hobbies included:
Art, reading and sports
Die struktuur van die Afrikaanse wortelmorfeem, HAUM, 1962
Taal as sisteem, RAU, 1969
Aspekte van taal, Nasou, 1973
Keurige Afrikaans (co-author), a series of five school grammars, Nasou, 1986
Verklarende Handwoordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (HAT) second and third editions, Perskor, 1979 and 1994.
Kort taalkundige reis deur N. P. van Wyk Louw , RAU, 1987
Afrikaans op sy beste (co-author: A.F. Prinsloo), Van Schaik, 1995
Kernwoordeboek, Maskew Miller Longman, 2000
Verklarende Handwoordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (HAT) (Co-author: R. H. Gouws) , fourth edition, Maskew Miller Longman, 2000
HAT Verklarende woordeboek (Co-author : R. H. Gouws), Pearson, 2005